Danielle Favor

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since Sep 24, 2011
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Recent posts by Danielle Favor

Rusty -- thanks for the many helpful links-- I had already seen the Dan Phillips TED talk -- love the guy's sense of humor as well as his creative genius!

I'm currently working my way through the book Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House by Venolia and Lerner. There's a lot of good stuff in the book -- most of it is not detailed enough to qualify as a how-to, but it does give one an idea of what's possible. I really think remodelling for greater energy and water efficiency, natural heating and air conditioning, etc., is an idea whose time has come (or will soon!).

Danielle (aka Gaiasdaughter)
7 years ago

Raven Sutherland wrote:something that always lifts my spirits although for your situation it may not apply



I find it quite appropos -- the message I get is that if you give people a chance, they may astound you with talents and abilities you never imagined.

David Galloway wrote:Paul, have you ever seen this video? Always cheers me up when I'm having a craptastic day.



I love that video, too -- and it seems to have a timely message. Do what you love and others will join you -- sometimes not right away, but eventually. It also shows that some people and some places are more receptive than others!
Philip -- looks like a great book. Here's another possibility http://www.amazon.com/Green-Remodeling-Changing-World-Room/dp/0865714983/ref=wl_mb_hu_m_4_dp I don't know any more about the book than the blurb but it does seem to offer some practical advice.

CJ, I was actually thinking of putting the earth bags on the outside of a house -- to give the house more thermal mass, better insulation from both temperatures and sound, more fire-proofing, etc. Now that I think of it, however, I doubt I could convince my husband that the benefits would be worth all the work involved!!

I'm sorry all my questions are so vague but I don't have a specific property in mind right now, just looking at options so that when I go house-hunting I can see potential and not just drawbacks.
7 years ago
Here is a link to a Mother Earth article on mud plasters for interior finishes: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/2007-10-01/How-to-Make-Earth-Art.aspx According to the article, this can be applied to sheetrock as well as to natural materials -- I'm wondering if the mud plaster would be practical as an insulative layer, or if it is purely esthetic in value. (A lot of work either way) I'm also wondering about working around electric outlets, light switches, etc. Part of the allure, for me, of building a natural home (WOFATI, cob, straw bale, rammed earth, stone, log cabin, etc) is the connection between the human lives that play out inside the shelter and the natural world that provides the shelter -- which is why I'm struggling with the concept of somehow converting that 50's ranch into something that sustains both physically and spiritually.
7 years ago

Springtime Homes wrote:The saying the "greenest home is the one already built" is not necessarily true at all.



You are right, of course, and I know better than to make absolute statements (not that it ever stops me!). I wasn't thinking so much in terms of energy efficiency as in terms of materials and the costs (carbon and otherwise) of transporting those materials. An existing home does not require additional trees to be cut down or cement to be mixed or land to be cleared -- unless one is making changes and then it depends . . . I am currently looking to relocate and I am looking for something in a small town within walking distance of the places I would be most likely to visit. My husband and I are in our sixties and have zero experience with permaculture and animal husbandry and not likely to grow smarter, more skilled brains overnight. So I'm looking for something affordable on maybe a half to full acre of land -- and what is both affordable and walkable is usually a depressing cookie cutter house with leaky windows and an over-reliance on fossil fuels to make the place livable. I'm trying to imagine these places transformed into something energy and water efficient and wondering how that might be achieved. I am also thinking that there are sooooo many existing homes that could be upgraded and that it would be 'greener' to retrofit than to bulldoze whole cities and start over. I find that people often plan for their perfect someday house while most of us will end up doing the best with what we have. But where does one begin?

Just wondering.
7 years ago
Jami and CJ -- some great links -- just the kind of thing I was looking for! And Ludi, I think a lot of us are in your situation -- so how to make the best of what we have? Leila -- good point. There are no 'one size fits all' solutions -- we need a variety of options that can be adapted to local materials, conditions, and legal requirements.

I've done a bit more digging and found more websites that might be of help:

http://vbc.cityrepair.org/ is the home site for Village Building Convergence, a Portland, OR based organization whose goal is: "We will come together to create benches, community kiosks, gardens, street paintings, tile mosaics, and more! Come join your neighbors as they bring to life the natural building, permaculture, and public art projects that they’ve been planning. Learn valuable skills for urban sustainability and social regeneration while celebrating the creativity and diversity of our wonderful city!" They are involved in a straw clay retrofit
http://www.firespeaking.com/category/portfolio/natural-building/

I'm thinking that earthbags might be a good retrofit option but I was not able to find anyone actually doing it.
7 years ago
If we're honest with ourselves, most of us will never live in a WOFATI, or even (forgive the heresy, Paul) a cob cottage, a straw bale mud hut, or an all-inclusive earthship. Most of us will end up in rather non-descript homes that are not particularly amenable to the sustainable lifestyle. And if truth be told, the GREENist house is one that is already built. So . . . has anyone out there bought a fifties ranch or a modern-day monstrosity and transformed it into something both beautiful and more sustainable? Has anyone taken society's cast off 'junk' and recycled it into unique, practical home goods a la Dan Phillips? Has anyone added cob or stonework to an existing home or changed a roof into a living envelope? Has anyone built a rocket mass heater in a cookie cutter house in the suburbs?

Looking for inspiration and hoping for hope . . .
7 years ago
Ahhh, the things one learns on permies.com!
7 years ago

paul wheaton wrote: So with the sideways factor - on a toilet, some of the issues are mitigated, but outside you could end up wetting your shoes, your leg, etc.  Is that about right?



Umm, yes, that's been my experience -- and it's not something I've ever discussed with anyone before. The Shewee looks like it might be a solution.
7 years ago